Delorean - Apar

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2013-09-09

Fourth album time and Barcelona-based Delorean have nudged their music a little further towards the mainstream. Not that the Balearic-house-meets-chillwave sound of previous album Subiza was exactly Throbbing Gristle, but you can hear immediately on first track 'Spirit' that they've beefed up their melody quotient.

The omens are good: it starts with a funky-but-stoned breakbeat like something off an early Massive Attack tune and combines this with a repeatative motif very reminiscent of Aphex Twin's 'On'. However, then the choral vocals and anthemic guitar comes in and it ends up sounding a bit U2-gone-chillwave, which isn't a good thing. Worse, you wouldn't actually dance to this, and I'm getting really sick of hearing dance music that doesn't make me want to dance.

Second track 'Destitute Time' makes a better impression by being a slice of excellent early-80s new-wave/white-boy funk with added big-lunged female vocals. This is more like it; it's far from original, but like Small Black, Delorean have here got the formula exactly right with enough little quirks, such as stuttering, submerged voices, in the production to make this a cut above what most current bands are offering.

However, the next song demonstrates the variability of the direction Delorean are heading: 'Dominion' weds whimsical folk guitar-picking to an 80s synth-chug which, coupled with Ekhi Lopetegi's over-earnest vocals and the almost naked desperation to deliver a big chorus, makes the whole confection a bit sickly, like an indie-dance 'Mull of Kintyre'. Thankfully, 'Unhold' (featuring Caroline Polachek) gets things back on track, although it still feels cloyingly sincere and sentimental in that post-Live Aid, late 80s way, the addition of some fucking woodwind only making it worse.

And so it goes: 'Inspire' sounds like The Police if they reformed and had a bash at this chillwave lark. 'You Know It's Right' sounds like something off The Neverending Story soundtrack, although not actually as good since I have a sneaking appreciation for Limahl's theme-song (C'mon people, it was produced by Giorgio Moroder!). I'm not saying Apar is a bad record, it's actually not, but the gently trippy, party-in-the-desert coolness of Subiza has given way to something a little more obvious and something else feels lost.

There are pretty great moments, such as the way the see-saw keyboard on 'Keep Up' recalls Propaganda's brilliant' Duel'. 'Walk High' is one of the strongest songs here, with its female and and male vocals and melody like a synth-pop version of The Smashing Pumpkins' '1979'. But overall, Apar is just a little too slow and plodding. With Subiza, you could do some nice 'I can feel the music of the trees' dancing; with this record, you can nod and hum along, but that's about it, especially by the time you get to the anaemic, watery indie-dance of closing track 'Still You', which sounds like The bloody Mock Turtles or something.

I guess you could argue Apar is a qualified success, and I'm only being so harsh because I expected Delorean to go further into the psych-meets-90s-house sounds of Subiza. Instead, they've gone for a bit of 80s revivalism and that's not a bad thing in itself, but that seam has been pretty thoroughly mined, most recently on Small Black's much better album Limits of Desire. The whole chillwave thing might have gone the way of all hipster fads, but I actually thought Delorean had more to offer with those blissed-out grooves.

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